Let’s face it—even when you work in a traditional office, you spend most of your time communicating with colleagues through email. Though it takes up 28% of your week, email just seems easier to deal with than meeting in person or scheduling calls, especially when you’re juggling a million and one priorities. The catch? Every now and again, you’ll run into a sticky office situation (read: super awkward) where you’re faced with having to turn down a request. Even though the person on the other end can’t see your panic face, saying no through email isn’t always easy to do.
As round two of our email template series, we’ve written 9 email templates for awkward office situations that you can save for later. Feel free to use and tweak as you see fit!
Turning Down a Meeting
Whether it’s for yourself or your boss, sometimes saying no to a meeting request requires more than a simple decline. If you’re saying no through email, leave the door open to reschedule. This shows that you’re not just hiding and are willing to put it on the docket later. You can also ask the person to provide action items after the meeting is done so you still get essential details.
Decline While Asking to Reschedule
Decline While Asking for Action Items
Saying No to a Project
When your boss assigns something completely out of scope, or a colleague asks for (yet) another favor, saying no through email is necessary—for both your sanity and documentation purposes. Any time project details are involved, a written conversation can help solidify what was discussed.
When The Project is Part of Your Job, But You’re Up to Your Eyeballs in Work
When The Project Is Just Not Right for You
Avoiding an Introduction You Don’t Want to Make
Maybe you don’t know the requester that well, it’s been a long time since you’ve chatted, or you’re just not comfortable making an introduction.
A Recommendation You Don’t Want to Give
We’re all for boosting the Ninja image and helping each other, but sometimes, you get a recommendation request that just doesn’t feel right. Plus, handing one out without full support from your gut can come back to haunt you later.
When You Can’t Comment on Their Skills
When It’s Company Policy Not to Give Recommendations
Even if you wanted to give a recommendation, your company policy might now allow it.
A Vendor You Don’t Want to Work With
Nurturing vendor relationships is always a priority for a Ninja, but there are some you just don’t want to work with.
Money You Don’t Want to Give
Someone is always fundraising for a worthy cause or charity, and it’s common to ask colleagues. No one wants to be seen as the office scrooge, but you can’t donate to every community event, charity, or school theater project without going broke.
Saying no to a project or an invite doesn’t have to be hard. The key—especially in email—is to be honest, direct, and gracious about the request. That way, you get your message across without burning any bridges.
Ninjas, what other workplace scenarios have you gotten out of through email? Let us know below!